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Canada and told them to come and pick

up their equipment. They then began a

campaign of intimidation, threatening to

send a collector and to attack my credit,

calling daily. It was incomprehensible that

they would act this way. I’m sure that they

could have verified there was no signal

going from the dish to TV at this address.

I was forced to pay more than $200 which

I didn’t owe. Finally, they sent a prepaid

Purolator label to ship the equipment to

Scarborough, ON.

My experience should be a caution to

other snowbirds; document any requests

to any large corporation!

Margaret Sanders

Fergus, ON

Ed.: We get many, many letters of complaint

about the telephone, satellite and cable

companies and we do not have any real an-

swers. I do, however, believe that you could

get your $200 back. I would call Bell and ask

for their Ombudsman and he should be able

to fix it. Another option would be to file a

claim in Small Claims Court, including extra

fees for your time and effort. My guess is that

the judge has had the same problems and

will “throw the book at them.”

Dear Bird Talk,

My question is about defining working

in the U.S. I could ask at the border, but

I’m afraid that asking will bring attention

to my situation with potential negative


I am a contractor for a Canadian education

company providing services to Canadian

businesses only. Within this role, I provide

course facilitation to students from all

across Canada via online webinars, but it’s

a Canadian company using a Canadian

website and I’m paid in Canadian funds

deposited directly into my Canadian

account. It’s only because it’s the Internet

that I can work from anywhere and I just

happen to be in the U.S. in the winter.

Does this mean I’m“working” in the U.S.?

The best analogy I can use to illustrate this

situation is that someone from CSA will

respond to this question. If that person is

being paid for their time and happens to

be in AZ when they log on and respond to

my question – are they then “working” in

the U.S.? Any information you can pass on

will be greatly appreciated.

Dale from British Columbia

Ed.: Do NOT talk to the border guards, as

they will probably put a flag on your file.

Internet commerce is still too new to have

firm guidelines and regulations in place. Our

CSA lawyer, Wallace Weylie says, “As you will

understand, this is a matter of interpretation

and is up to the discretion of the individual

inspector. In our opinion, this activity should

NOT constitute ‘working’ – the employer

is Canadian, the services are provided to

persons outside of the U.S., no resident of

the U.S. is being deprived of the work and

payment is made in Canada. That is the best

we can do.”

Dear Bird Talk,

We are Canadian with a vacation home in

Arizona. Our AZ builder offers a trade-in

program, so we are using this and build-

ing a larger home. Our current home gets

listed by a realtor which they use for their

trade-in business and they pay 1/2 his

commission. We pay the balance and the

funds from our present home go to the

Title Agency in trust, for us, for the new

home. Are there any taxes for us to pay

and do we have to complete a U.S. tax

return when the money is going straight

into another home?

Linda Johnson

Vancouver, BC

Ed.: The sale of your current home would be

subject to capital gains tax on the difference

between the sale price and the purchase

price you paid, less any improvements. Ten

per cent of the sale price is required to be

sent to the IRS and you (and your spouse)

each have to file a U.S. tax return, Form

1040NR, for the year in which the sale takes

place. The new home is of no consequence.

Dear Bird Talk,

My wife and I own a home in Arizona.

Can you give guidance concerning the

estate tax? Specifically, circumventing it.

Should we have a separate will for the

U.S.? Should we have our children’s names

on the title? Any advice would be greatly


Wayne Delorme

Calgary, AB

Ed.: For persons dying after 2004, there is

no estate or inheritance tax in Arizona. For

most persons (unless you are very wealthy),

there is no federal tax. There is no need to

have a will for the U.S. – your Canadian will

is just fine. Adding children’s names to the

title could be done for succession purposes,

but be aware that you, thereafter, cannot

do anything with the property without their

consent. You could not sell it or mortgage it,

for instance. We know of several situations

in which this joint ownership turned out to

be a nightmare.

Two other things which you may wish to

consider are a living will and a power of

attorney. We recommend that you have one

of each in Canada and also one of each in

Arizona. An Arizona hospital and/or doctor

would be very reluctant to depend on a

Canadian document.

Dear Bird Talk,

I am a snowbird from Canada who has

purchased a single-family home in a 55+

community. I have powers of attorney for

both my estate and personal care written

in Ontario by a lawyer. Should I have a

power of attorney certified in Arizona

as well? I am sure that there are lots of

Canadians spending the winter in Arizona

who would be interested in your answer.

Richard Morrison

Peterborough, ON

Ed.: In theory, the documents prepared in

Ontario should be recognized in Arizona.

However, when the matter would arise, it

would probably be in a crisis situation and

the last thing that you would want is to have

a question arise regarding their validity.

Therefore, we suggest having documents

prepared by a local attorney such that when

the occasion arises, the persons involved

are presented with documents which they

recognize. We also suggest that these be

valid only in the U.S., so that they do not

conflict with your Ontario documents.



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